I know, isn’t it great? Mind you, this isn’t just “another new brewery in Ballard.”
Stoup Brewing is a long held dream of Brad Benson and Lara Zahaba – two hopeless drink and chow hounds. That the two found each other twenty years ago seems fated – Brad, a scientist to the very last DNA strand, would proffer a hypothesis based on proximity and human nature, we’re sure (ahem). Whatever your take, the takeaway is this: Brad loves beer and has been a loyal student, courter, and crafter for years that number beyond his fingers and toes. Lara loves all things gastro – from a savory plate to a smart pour. The pair, professionally and recreationally, have spent the better part of their hours improving their palate’s quality of life. It was only a matter of time before they ponied up and joined the community of talented purveyors.
Enter, Robyn Schumacher – friend, teacher and self-professed beer geek graduated Cicerone. She had the same dream. Fitting that Robyn’s infatuation with beer bloomed under the tutelage of a biology degree. Robyn’s regard for all things hop and malt only deepened while her teaching career flourished. Brewing in her spare time was the final hook.
Once upon a time, computer systems were so large they filled up an entire room. Now, we walk casually around with machines as powerful in the palm of our hands. No big deal, right? So it should come as no shock that brew systems that fill up enormous warehouses can now be found boiled down to an appliance a bit like an oversized microwave oven.
Less surprising still is that this incredible piece of brew-tech was dreamt up and made a reality right here in Seattle by former Microsoft software genius, Bill Mitchell. After over 18 years as an executive leading pioneering efforts in PDAs, smartphones, automotive and wearable computing, it seems only natural that you’d want harness those skills and knowledge to make beer, no? Seems correct to me.
With food innovation in their blood, Bill and his brother Jim Mitchell seemed poised to begin work on the PicoBrew three years ago. Jim had spent much of the last two decades building innovative food processing plants in California, following in the footsteps of their grandfather, Dr. William Mitchell, inventor of some of our childhood favorites like Pop Rocks and Tang. If you ever meet Bill or Jim, be sure to ask about some of those early stages of experimentation with Pop Rocks when they were kids. There’s a reason the candy pieces are so small. Read the rest of this entry »
Elysian’s 9th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival is nearly sold out, folks. Remember how I warned you a few weeks ago> I told you that this event would sell out and encouraged you to buy your tickets early (or at least earlier than the day before the event). But, I understand. You got busy, you set reminders on your phone, they popped up, you snoozed those reminders and you figured you’d get around to it later. Now, they’re all gone and you’ve got a hankerin’ for pumpkin beers this weekend, right?
[queue sad violin music]
But, for one lucky individual out there in the blogosphere I have a single ticket that could have your name on it for Great Pumpkin’s Sunday (October 6) session! Here’s what you need to do to win the ticket:
It may come as a great shock to some of you that I have never been to Yakima for fresh hop season. In the grand scheme of my craft beer journey, my love of this tongue-tingling beer style has been a fairly recent development. In past years, I’ve overlooked fresh hop festivities, but no longer. So, when I was approached with the opportunity to finally attend Yakima’s Fresh Hop Ale Fest this Saturday, October 5, I jumped at the chance for five glorious hours of hoppy bliss.
Now in its eleventh year running, this festival is a celebration of one of Washington’s most bountiful crop: Hops. While the harvest began earlier this month, hops will continue to be collected off the vines over the next few weeks and brewers have already begun releasing their seasonals that highlight this year’s freshest ingredients.
The Fresh Hop Ale Festival showcases beers produced with fresh, Yakima Valley hops, the world’s largest hop-growing region (78%). To qualify for the festival and be considered a “fresh hop ale” the beers must be produced with Yakima Valley hops that have moved from vine to vat in 24 hours. Qualifying brews will be judged by professionals in the industry (for the Judges Awards) as well as attendees (for the People’s Choice Awards). The fest will include over 30 breweries, 16 food vendors, five local wineries, and two bands. The event on Saturday runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Yakima’s Millenium Plaza downtown and will feature at least one fresh hop beer from each brewery present.
All proceeds from this festival go towards supporting Allied Arts of Yakima Valley, a non-profit organization that has been promoting and coordinating arts events in the Valley since 1962. Allied Arts focuses on developing artistic and academic skills in youth, community enhancement, and economic development.
Tickets are still available online at Brown Paper Tickets for $30 plus service fee, or $35 at the gate Saturday evening. Ticket price includes entry into the festival, a pint glass and $7 in “script.” A 4-oz pour is $2 of script. Additional script can be purchased for $1 per script at the festival. A full pint it is $5 script (or $5).
On yet another gorgeous Seattle fall evening, Kim and Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog ushered in a line of guests that wrapped halfway around the block to their Third Annual Craft Beer + Food tasting at the Tyee Yacht Club. Every year, I gush a little about this event because, well, it’s brilliant. And not only is it a classy evening with some of the finest local food and beer you can find in Seattle, the event raises bunches of money for local sustainable food non-profit, the Just Garden Project. The message this sends is that Seattle beer drinkers care about locally sourced food, beautifully handcrafted cuisine, thoughtfully brewed craft beers, and, ultimately, their community. Not bad at all.
I think it’s safe (fingers crossed) to say at this point that the craft beer industry isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And the elevation of quality and importance placed on sustainability within the broader craft market is a true indicator of great things to come. The future looks bright and tasty, friends. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, I feel it’s only fair to myself and readers to finally accept the end of summer and usher in the coming of fall with my annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival preview. Can you believe that after nine years, this popular autumn beer fest has grown from featuring less than ten pumpkin beers to over 70 from all over the US? Or that over 15 of these seasonal brews are crafted by the host of the party, Elysian Brewing? Believe it, folks. It’s real.
This year’s event will be a little different from year’s past. It’s being held a bit earlier in October (Oh no, “seasonal beer creep!”), and while still maintaining three separate sessions, these will be spread over the entire weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) rather than back-to-back sessions on Saturday.
Labor Day weekend in Seattle is full-on crazy-go-nuts. Between PAX, Bumbershoot, visitors from all over the country and world getting in the last of their summer trips, and a bunch of stuff I’m missing, Seattle is packed with people. But, while we’re all enjoying our respective local arts and culture events, it is important to remember there are people out there in need. Alas, I would like to remind you of two charity (BEER) events happening this weekend.
For those of you who don’t know, aside from being a beer geek (annoyingly so at times), I’m also a gamer. Additionally, I love Star Trek, Dungeons & Dragons and other somewhat stereotypically “nerdy” hobbies and entertainment. As Mr. Wil Wheaton puts it quite simply: Being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.
I love my hobbies fervently. But it’s not enough to merely impart my beer wisdom and expertise upon the universe through writing or chatting about beer, or throw fun board game gatherings at my home, I need to do more. Alas, a few friends put the idea in my head that I should throw my own beer event; a beer event that incorporates both these passions: Beer and gaming. And so the First Annual Post-PAX Pint Throwndown is born.
Rather than rewrite something I’ve already done a pretty detailed job and crafting, here’s the press release I’ve just sent out to the community:
Just when you thought Bremerton was about the only western-bound brew fest in Washington, this summer 7 Cedar Casino in Sequim, Washington brings us the first annual Far West Beer Fest.
Set in the picturesque summer-time setting of the beautiful coastline and Olympic Mountains, Far West highlights some of the newest (and smallest) craft breweries in Washington. Many of these nanos are unknown to us “east-siders” as they rarely make their way all the way over to Seattle beer events. Far West Beer Fest should be a treat for those of us that don’t oft make it over to the peninsula solely for the purpose of a beer pilgrimage. I highly recommend you use the excuse of this new beer festival for just that: Sampling the wares of our peninsula microbreweries.
You may remember my post back in May about the new wood fired pizza and beer bar, The Masonry, opening soon in Lower Queen Anne. Back then, the space was just getting started with build-out. By now, The Masonry has acquired a liquor license for serving beer & wine, installed their pizza oven, started setting up their lines for the 14 beer taps and things are humming along with an opening date looking to be somewhere around the beginning on August.
As he prepares for the completion of the bar, seating, tap installation, the kitchen and all the other finishing touches, owner Matt Storm is getting excited to be the new kid on the block and also a destination spot of Queen Anne residents. “I think a lot of people who live in Queen Anne go elsewhere for beer,” says Storm. “Triumph Bar is opening a block away, there’s other stuff in the pipeline. There’s going to finally be good places to go in Queen Anne,” beer-wise, that is. While the restaurant scene in LQA has grown over the past years, the bars haven’t changed much. And although, everyone loves a good dive bar or karaoke spot, a legitimate craft beer bar has been long overdue and needed to fill a niche in this Seattle neighborhood.
From the taps will flow 14 tasty craft beers (mostly locals and many rotators), two ciders, four red wines and one white wine. A few of the local breweries have special beers in the works for The Masonry’s opening, which are to be determined. The restaurant has a capacity of approximately 40 people, with bar seating, community table seating, small tables, and a row of seats along the roll-up window.